Sunday, July 26, 2009

Migas con huevos, Chinese-style

I was digging around the back of my freezer looking for a quick lunch when I came across the remnants of a pack of frozen scallion pancakes I don't remember buying.
You know scallion pancakes; they're a mainstay of good dim sum and Chinese appetizers from lousy hole-in-the-wall Chinese places. As dim sum, they're usually light, flaky and utterly lacking in character or interest. Get them at a hole-in-the-wall and they're heavy, greasy and sit like a lump in your stomach--just the thing for absorbing alcohol at 3 in the morning. Out of the freezer, they're closer to the latter version, but add an egg and meat of some sort and they're a passable meal. Unfortunately, the last of mine had been smashed into pieces.

I've posted about Spanish-style migas a couple times here, but there's also Mexican-style that instead of using bread crumbs as the base starch uses torn-up corn tortillas. This could work.

I'll be cooking this in my flat-bottomed wok (which is pretty similar to a traditional migas pan), so it's going to be a quick process and I've got to get everything I'm adding prepped before I start. Chopped onion and green pepper work in both Mexican and Chinese cuisine. I can spare a handful of beansprouts (the rest are going into an Indonesian salad I'll post about later), and some bay scallops and shredded pork should work as proteins. And finally, a couple eggs. Spanish-style migas drops a fried egg on top, but Mexican-style mixes everything into scrambled eggs. That seems more appropriate.

The cooking went pretty quickly. The first thing was to heat up oil in the flat-bottomed wok and fry the scallion pancake pieces up crisp. Once they were nearly done, I added the onion and pepper and let them soften before adding the bean sprouts, scallops and pork. Once the scallops were cooked (no more than a minute), I added a drizzle of soy sauce and two beaten eggs. I stirred constantly until the eggs were just set and then everything leaves the pan. In the bowl, the dish is finished off with chili oil and a squeeze of lemon to brighten things up. And there it is:

It's a bit unsightly I'll admit. It would look better with more eggs. My egg to bread ratio is low for Mexican-style and high for Spanish-style migas. I would have gone with more, but this is already a hearty serving and the scallion pancake is likely go flabby in leftovers. Right now, though, the crisp-chewy pancake and differently-crisp bean sprouts with the still firm onion and pepper and the soft eggs and pork gives a lot of textural interest to each forkful. As for flavor, each component adds its own character, but the eggs pull the disparate elements together. The scallion pancake in particular adds a lot that rice wouldn't. This is really a lot better than it has any business being. It's a nice hearty brunch; I'm glad I tried it.

It seems to me that Mexican and Chinese are two cuisines particularly well suited for the bowl full of mixed bread and eggs plus flavorings dish concept. You could make an American breakfast version with French toast, maybe. Can you guys think of any other versions that might work?


kat said...

Why is it sometimes the things that taste the best are just the least photogenic? I wonder if you could do a Scandinavian version using lefse?

billjac said...

I think it's just that stir-fries are difficult hard to photograph attractively, and gloppy ones particularly so.

As for a Scandinavian version, yeah, I could see that. The potato bread should absorb lots of olive oil and crisp up nice. Add the eggs, mix in gravlax, onions, capers and dill and you're all set.